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NASA twins study explores space, the final genetic frontier

By The News · 14 of April 2019 09:30:27
AP Photo, Scott Kelly, Mark Kelly, No available, FILE - In this March 4, 2016 file photo, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, left, and his identical twin, Mark, stand together before a news conference in Houston. From his eyes to his immune system, Scott's body sometimes reacted strangely to nearly a year in orbit, at least compared to his Earth-bound brother _ but research published on Thursday, April 11, 2019 shows nothing that would cancel even longer space treks, like to Mars. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A unique study of twin astronauts is helping scientists uncover how the body responds to long space travel.

When Scott Kelly spent nearly a year in orbit, he and his Earth-bound twin Mark let scientists track their health down to the genetic level, to try to tease out possible hazards.

Scott Kelly’s body sometimes reacted strangely to the stresses of spaceflight, with swelling in his eyes and genes that guide his immune system going on high alert.

He largely returned to normal back home. But researchers said the findings offer a road map to study the effects of even longer spaceflights — like a trip to the moon or Mars — in more astronauts in the future.

The work was published in Friday’s journal Science.